• Tom Strode

Pandemic living: Dignity, civility

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a back seat to other news, but we still live with its reality shaping our lives.

The killing of George Floyd -- as well as the protests and riots that have followed the viral video of that inhumane act by a Minneapolis policeman – has dominated the news and the national conversation approaching two weeks.

Both the effects of the disease and the death have served to remind us of the vast disagreements that exist in this country and sometimes in Christ’s church. Too often, those differences of opinion are expressed in demeaning, scathing terms – even by some followers of Jesus.

To make things clear, we might be free to disagree on policy decisions regarding what is the most effective way to respond to a deadly virus or to rioting, but we are not free as Christians to disagree on the inhumanity of the lethal treatment of a human being made in the image of God or the racism it might represent.

What we should demonstrate as followers of Jesus of Nazareth in our public discourse – including on social media -- is a civility that is based on the fact every person is created by God in His image. Every person, without exception, has a God-given dignity by virtue of his or her existence.

When we disagree, we should do so with grace and kindness, no matter with whom we differ. God’s Word tells God’s people to let our “speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

We don’t need to win an argument at all costs. We don’t need to vanquish those who oppose us. We don’t need to prove the superiority of our views at the expense of our witness.

We do need to follow the example of our humble Lord. We do need to love all of our neighbors. We do need to make room for others to see the grace of God in our lives.

May it be so during and after the pandemic.

-- Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash


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